VivLeighFan

Who's your favorite femme fetale?

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Mine is Veda Pierce from Mildred Pierce because her relationship with her mother reminds me of my rekationship with my mother. I can be downright cruel to her at times but at the same time I need her more than anything. If I lost her, I don't know what I'd do. That's why Mildred Pierce is such an impressive film because it's a true representation of how far a parent would go to protect thier child even if they are spoiled brats.

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Mine is Veda Pierce from Mildred Pierce because her relationship with her mother reminds me of my rekationship with my mother. I can be downright cruel to her at times but at the same time I need her more than anything. If I lost her, I don't know what I'd do. That's why Mildred Pierce is such an impressive film because it's a true representation of how far a parent would go to protect thier child even if they are spoiled brats.

 

My choice is Kathie Moffat from Out of the Past,  with Kitty Collins from The Killers a close second. 

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Some faves include:

 

-- Barbara Stanwyck in both Double Indemnity and The Strange Love of Martha Ivers

 

-- the golddigger in Elevator to the Gallows

 

-- Kim Novak in Pushover

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I would pick Gloria Grahame in so many of her films, but especially in "In A Lonely Place".

 

But is Laurel Gray a femme fatale?    I say no, since the reasons for Dixon Steele's problems relate to his own inner issues and Gray doesn't causes these or benefit from them. 

 

While Grahame is one of the queens of film noir,  she is only a classic femme fatale in Human Desire.    Even in The Big Heat she is more of a gangster moll than a femme fatale like Kathie Moffat or Kitty Collins.  

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Some faves include:

 

-- Barbara Stanwyck in both Double Indemnity and The Strange Love of Martha Ivers

 

Her role in THE FILE ON THELMA JORDON is another one. The file is quite thick.

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Her role in THE FILE ON THELMA JORDON is another one. The file is quite thick.

 

Yes,  Thelma Jordon is a classic femme fatale;   she bring doom to otherwise 'clean' assistant DA played by Wendell Corey.  

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But is Laurel Gray a femme fatale?    I say no, since the reasons for Dixon Steele's problems relate to his own inner issues and Gray doesn't causes these or benefit from them. 

 

While Grahame is one of the queens of film noir,  she is only a classic femme fatale in Human Desire.    Even in The Big Heat she is more of a gangster moll than a femme fatale like Kathie Moffat or Kitty Collins.  

Gloria Grahame has "the essence" of a femme fatale in whatever it is she does.

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Gloria Grahame has "the essence" of a femme fatale in whatever it is she does.

 

Agree 100%.    She clearly gives off a femme fatale vibe;  full of mystery, appearing to be holding back something and her use of her sexuality (even when she isn't using it to push a man into darkness).     

 

I made my point because I have often found people saying Grahame is the most evil and corrupt noir dame but she doesn't fit that bill  when one compares the noir characters Grahame has played with  those of Stanwyck or even 'B' actress Janis Carter,  .

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I would pick Gloria Grahame in so many of her films, but especially in "In A Lonely Place".

 

I absolutely adore In a Lonely Place, but I wouldn't classify Grahame's character as a femme fatale.

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I like Gloria Grahame also for Classic Noir but Audrey Totter and Marie Windsor both come a close second, followed by Lizabeth Scott, Evelyn Keyes, and Ida Lupino.

 

Here is breakdown of the numbers of Film Noir that it's most popular Femme Fatales appeared in (BTW there are more actresses with 4 or less films that I left out).

 

Joan Bennett - 5

Joan Crawford -10

Linda Darnell - 5

Rhonda Fleming - 5

Gloria Grahame - 9

Susan Hayward - 5

Rita Hayworth - 3

Evelyn Keyes - 7

Ida Lupino - 16

Dorothy Malone - 7

Agness Morehead - 6

Ruth Roman - 6

Lizabeth Scott - 7

Anne Sheridan - 4

Barbara Stanwyck - 9

Audrey Totter - 9

Claire Trevor - 10

Marie Windsor - 5

Shelley Winters - 11

 

For Neo Noir here are my favorites:

 

Kathleen Turner - Body Heat

Linda Fiorentino - The Last Seduction

Isabella Rossellini - Blue Velvet

Ellen Barkin - Siesta

Joanne Whalley - Kill Me Again

Virginia Madsen - The Hot Spot

Lena Olin - Romeo Is Bleeding

Rosanna Arquette - The Wrong Man

Laure Marsac - Hit Me

Patricia Arquette - Lost Highway

Gina Gershon - This World, Then The Fireworks

Hilary Swank - The Black Dahlia

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I could write about this subject all day. These are some of my favorite femme fatales:

 

1. Mary Astor as Brigid O'Shaughnessy in the Maltese Falcon, arguably the first fully realized film noir. She kills Bogie's partner and almost traps Bogie before he comes to his senses.

 

2. Barbara Stanwyck as Phyllis Dietrichson in Double Indemnity is ice-cold and sexy as she gets Fred MacMurray's character Walter Neff to kill her husband.

 

3. Claire Trevor as Helen Grayle in Murder, My Sweet, who strings along Moose Malloy while Private Eye Dick Powell's Philip Marlowe tries to solve a complex murder.

 

4. Gene Tierney, in the Technicolor noir Leave Her to Heaven, brings sadness and emotional depth to her character.

 

5. Ava Gardner as Kitty Collins in The Killers. It would have been a shame if Gardner had not played a femme fatale. With this film, thankfully, she got her chance.

 

6. Jane Greer as Kathie Moffat in Out of the Past (arguably noir's crowning achievement) is a sociopathic beauty even hard boiled Robert Mitchum can't say no to.

 

7. Joan Fontaine as Ivy Lexton in the gaslight noir Ivy. Fontaine gives an erotically charged performance as a shrewd, refined, predatory femme fatale who looks awesome in Edwardian costumes.

 

8. Noir veteran Lizabeth Scott as Dusty Chandler in the underrated Dead Reckoning. Scott and Bogie have great chemistry.

 

9. Rita Hayworth as Elsa Bannister in the Orson Welles-directed The Lady From Shanghai. Hayworth with short blonde hair is still mesmerizing.

 

10. Kathleen Turner as Matty Walker in Body Heat. The Florida setting and Turner's memorable performance as she flawlessly manipulates William Hurt's Ned Racine make this a great neo noir.

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Agree with most of those submitted, but especially these: 

Barbara Stanwyck as Phyllis Dietrichson in Double Indemnity
Claire Trevor as Helen Grayle in Murder, My Sweet. 
Jane Greer as Kathie Moffat in Out of the Past
Lizabeth Scott as Dusty Chandler in the underrated Dead Reckoning

Kathleen Turner as Matty Walker in Body Heat. Probably my Number One.

Linda Fiorentino, The Last Seduction.

Virginia Madsen, The Hot Spot.

 

Not sure about Audrey Totter, Gloria Grahame and Marie Windsor as "Femme Fatales." Maybe bad girls, but not quite devious or evil enough.

 

One of the interesting things that shows how good these women are/were as actresses is that they are totally believable in good girl, bad girl and femme fatale roles.

Compare Jane Greer in Out of the Past with Robert Mitchum and Jane Greer in The Big Steal with Robert Mitchum two years later.  Not to mention dozens of roles with Stanwyck.

 

Occured to me that this would be a suitable thread for General Discussions, since Femme Fatales also exist in mystery, suspense, drama, etc.?

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Agree with most of those submitted, but especially these: 

Barbara Stanwyck as Phyllis Dietrichson in Double IndemnityClaire Trevor as Helen Grayle in Murder, My Sweet. Jane Greer as Kathie Moffat in Out of the PastLizabeth Scott as Dusty Chandler in the underrated Dead Reckoning

Kathleen Turner as Matty Walker in Body Heat. Probably my Number One.

Linda Fiorentino, The Last Seduction.

Virginia Madsen, The Hot Spot.

 

Not sure about Audrey Totter, Gloria Grahame and Marie Windsor as "Femme Fatales." Maybe bad girls, but not quite devious or evil enough.

 

One of the interesting things that shows how good these women are/were as actresses is that they are totally believable in good girl, bad girl and femme fatale roles.

Compare Jane Greer in Out of the Past with Robert Mitchum and Jane Greer in The Big Steal with Robert Mitchum two years later.  Not to mention dozens of roles with Stanwyck.

 

Occured to me that this would be a suitable thread for General Discussions, since Femme Fatales also exist in mystery, suspense, drama, etc.?

Yeah I suppose so. I only put in here because femme fetales are so prominent in film noirs.

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9. Rita Hayworth as Elsa Bannister in the Orson Welles-directed The Lady From Shanghai. Hayworth with short blonde hair is still mesmerizing.

 

I think she looks great with the blonde hair and wish she had done it in other films.

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Not sure about Audrey Totter, Gloria Grahame and Marie Windsor as "Femme Fatales." 

Watch...

 

Totter - Tension (1949)

Grahame - Sudden Fear (1952), Human Desire (1954)

Windsor - Hell's Half Acre (1954), The Killing (1956)

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Watch...

 

Totter - Tension (1949)

Grahame - Sudden Fear (1952), Human Desire (1954)

Windsor - Hell's Half Acre (1954), The Killing (1956)

Guess it goes back to how good they were as actresses.

Of the above, I have only seen Tension.

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Guess it goes back to how good they were as actresses.

Of the above, I have only seen Tension.

 

Not sure what you're getting at;  I feel all of these actresses were 'good' as it relates to playing believable characters.

 

Also interesting that you have only seen Tension and that was the only noir film I hadn't seen until TCM just showed it.

 

The others, like Human Desire and The Killing are big budget noir pictures.

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The others, like Human Desire and The Killing are big budget noir pictures.

 

The Killing was a lower budget movie. Not Z-grade, but definitely a B-movie. It was also a flop commercially, and has only gained in reputation in the years since, and thanks to more people checking the film out largely due to Stanley Kubrick's involvement. Now it's routinely listed as one of the better heist/noir films of the era. It's one of my favorites.

 

Human Desire was slightly bigger budgeted, as Glenn Ford, Gloria Grahame and Broderick Crawford were all notable stars at the time. Fritz Lang does a good job in the director's chair. But while I like the film, I prefer the 1938 French version La Bete Humaine directed by Jean Renoir and starring Jean Gabin and Simone Simon.

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Not sure what you're getting at;  I feel all of these actresses were 'good' as it relates to playing believable characters.

 

Also interesting that you have only seen Tension and that was the only noir film I hadn't seen until TCM just showed it.

 

The others, like Human Desire and The Killing are big budget noir pictures.

Tension has been on TCM several times before - that's where I saw it.

I guess I was confused by the title of the thread on my first post.  While they played femme fatales, I didn't see them as just femme fatales.  Also, there is the gray area between bad girl and femme fatale.  The FF in my thinking is much more evil and often engages in murderous activities.  Also, has no redeeming "social values."  But that's me.

Looked up The Killing and I have seen it a couple of times.  OK, but not that impressive to me which is why I probably forgot about it.

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The Killing was a lower budget movie. Not Z-grade, but definitely a B-movie. It was also a flop commercially, and has only gained in reputation in the years since, and thanks to more people checking the film out largely due to Stanley Kubrick's involvement. Now it's routinely listed as one of the better heist/noir films of the era. It's one of my favorites.

 

Human Desire was slightly bigger budgeted, as Glenn Ford, Gloria Grahame and Broderick Crawford were all notable stars at the time. Fritz Lang does a good job in the director's chair. But while I like the film, I prefer the 1938 French version La Bete Humaine directed by Jean Renoir and starring Jean Gabin and Simone Simon.

 

Thanks for the correction on The Killing.   I wondered after I posted if I was looking at the film from a 'today' POV and not when it was released.    As you note the film is now listed as a classic heist/noir film.   I assume that has to do with having some iconic noir actors like Hayden,  Cook, Windsor and the always interesting (but out there) Tim Carey. 

 

The Windsor character is clearly a femme fatale leading to the death of two men who had a thing for her.    

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Thanks for the correction on The Killing.   I wondered after I posted if I was looking at the film from a 'today' POV and not when it was released.    As you note the is now listed as a classic heist/noir film.   I assume that has to do with having some iconic noir actors like Hayden,  Cook, Windsor and the always interesting (but out there) Tim Carey. 

 

The Windsor character is clearly a femme fatale leading to the death of two men who had a thing for her.    

 

Yeah, she is. She's very good in that. It's a great bunch of characters, which makes it stand-out more than it's fairly routine plot, I think.

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She's not typically a femme fatale, but Gene Tierney in LEAVE HER TO HEAVEN qualifies. Bette Davis in DECEPTION? Simone Signoret in DIABOLIQUE? Linda Darnell in FALLEN ANGEL? Joan Bennett in SCARLET STREET?

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